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arhyalon

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08:45 am: Not Watching the Watchmen

 When I think of the Watchmen, the first thing I remember is the vacation I spent reading it. I think I was at a friend’s house. I know I don’t remember much about the days around it. I spent so many hours just immersed in the book, pouring over the details, trying to catch every hint, every nuance.

When I got to the end, I recall now, I was very disappointed. Ozymandius let me down. Instead of something really intelligent, he performed the very kind of ‘ends justify the means’ nonsense I most hate.

 

But somehow, I forgot about that in the years to come. I only remembered the delightful process of reading it and my affection for Night Owl and Silk Specter. I remembered it with love.

 

Until Lost Girls came out. One day, I was bemoaning how this comic book writer I liked so much from Watchman could come up with an idea that was so pathetic, and I suddenly remembered the end of Watchmen and how it violated everything I stood for – ideas I was much more aware I stood for now than I had been back when I read it years ago. It was like waking up suddenly noticing that the Emperor has no clothes.

 

And I stopped liking Watchmen, there and then.

 

Looking back, what sucked me in, both to Watchmen and to Promethea, was the promise of heroism, the promise of mystic wonder (in the second instance.) A promise never delivered. Instead, what was delivered was something that would have made Franchezzo’s ancestor proud.* A degradation of good things that made later degradations easier to swallow.

 

So, I’m not going to see the movie.

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* In A Wanderer In The Spirit Lands, (written in 1896) Franchezzo travels to Hell and meets an ancestor of his who had been influencing him during his life. The ancestor tries to get Franchezzo, who is now dead, to stay with him and help him corrupt the living. Franchezzo reports:

Again, I saw the power in intellect and in literature which I could control and influence through the imaginative descriptive faculties of mortals who, under my prompting, would write such books as appealed to the reason, the intellect, and the sensual passions of mankind, until the false glamour thrown over them should cause men to view with indulgence and even approval the most revolting ideas and the most abominable teachings.

 


Comments

[User Picture]
From:princejvstin
Date:March 11th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
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It's not a spoiler for me to say (although I am only aware of the comic and not with its details) that the ending, although changed in the specifics is still the same. "Ends justifies the means".

[User Picture]
From:princejvstin
Date:March 11th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
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And John made some good points about the lack of heroes qua heroes in the Watchmen. Which seems to be a "feature" of the setting, not a bug. Its part of Moore's point. Which doesn't mean that you have to or should agree with Moore about that.
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From:arhyalon
Date:March 11th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
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>Which doesn't mean that you have to or should agree with Moore about that.

Yeah, that's where we differ. I think he did what he did very well...I just realized I don't like it. The world is full of things that suck...if I want to take the time to read about heroes, I'd rather they were heroic. ;-)
[User Picture]
From:juliet_winters
Date:March 11th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
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Neither am I. If Steve really, really wants to go with ME, okay, I'll do it, but otherwise, I'll probably send him off with the lads if he's interested.

Come to think of it, we haven't managed to catch a -good- movie together in ages. Last major disappointment was Pan's Labyrinth. Sense of wonder warped into something really nasty.
A European friend told me that's the way it is with European fairy tales. She loved it.

I've read European, particularly German, fairy tales. They can be quite grim(m). No wonder they got reworked.
However, the Celtic ones are not so grim. They are heroic and magical and well, enjoyable. Less "Life sucks--deal" and more "Life is beautiful--overcome and enjoy."
[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:March 11th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
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John and I saw Pan's Labyrinth and we interpreted it entirely differently...I thought something much nicer went on than what he thought (you could say I bought into the tale.) I recall that the time that I thought there was evidence in the movie for my side.

We recently saw Slumdog Millionaire and Inkheart, both of which we enjoyed.
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From:juliet_winters
Date:March 11th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
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I sometimes get a well, shall we call it psychic for lack of a better term, whiff of evil from encountering certain people and things.
This one gave it to me and to Steve, too. Wish I could have wiped certain images from my mind. Whatever happened to that little girl in the end--and it is indeed debatable what happened to her--the sheer exuberence with which the film maker introduced the images of gore, sex, monstrosity, and disillusionment counterpointed with the girl's innocence made me feel as though I were watching the rape of a child.
I had such high hopes for it. I just pray no parents brought their kids to see it. The little advance that it got made it seem as though it were a light and lovely fairy tale.
A film with some grown-up/fantastic elements that we did enjoy seeing together: Chocolat.
[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:March 11th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
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I agree with you. It really isn't for children, and it does have that weird, for lack of a better word, "Wrongness" that goes with stories that seem to be doing the opposite of what stories are for.

I loved Chocolat. John objected to the bohemianess of it, and he didn't like the magic being used to loosen people up. It reminded him of stuff he really didn't like in Pleasantville. But I think he was reading too much into it. I really enjoyed it a lot.

We both love the sound track to Chocolat. We listened to it in the car for years.

A movie we saw recently that I'd recommend is Fireproof. A very simple story about a man trying to save his marriage, but we were both quite touched by it.
[User Picture]
From:juliet_winters
Date:March 11th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
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Frankly, Johnny Depp is fun to watch in anything. He has that movie star quality/acting ability that carries any picture he's in.

Thanks for reminding me of Fireproof. That's on the list for me to get for the church library. Same people did "Facing the Giants" (sports story) which can be had for 5 bucks at the check out of the local Christian book store, the last time I checked.
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